In an attempt to counteract Islamic State’s hold on the region, a US-led coalition of anti-IS groups has been carrying out airstrikes all over Syria. The most recent was carried out near the town of Shaddadi and was targeting ISIS military chief Omar al-Shishani.
Formally known as Tarkhan Batirashvili, the Georgian is commonly called “Omar the Chechen,” and ISIS’ “minister of war.”
According to records, Omar al-Shishani was born in a large village in Georgia in 1986. In 2006, he became a member of the Georgian armed forces. He was an active rifleman and sergeant until he was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2010 and discharged from the armed services. From there he hit rough times, landing himself in prison for the illegal purchase of weapons until he was released once again due to his bad health. Hoping for a new life, Omar left Georgia for Turkey and eventually Syria where he would become a leader of the Chechen jihadists in the fight against the Syrian government.
Those who know him call him a good man, claiming that he and other Chechen fighters went to Syria “for the sake of Allah to help oppressed people there and to protect their rights.” (BBC News)
Today al-Shishani is considered one of the top military leaders in the fight against the Syrian government. Under his leadership, major Syrian military bases around Aleppo (Syria’s largest City) have been attacked and captured, causing the US government to place Shishani on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, a framework that was created shortly after the attacks on 9/11. Al-Shishani currently leads what is described as Islamic State’s Special Forces.
After the airstrike on March 4th, US officials announced that Omar al-Shishani might have been killed in the attack. However, since then, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that he had been taken to the Syrian city of Raqqa for treatment. Though badly wounded, it appears that al-Shishani might still be alive.
This begs the question of whether or not the pro-Syrian Government forces tactics are working. A recent inquiry has been made by several humanitarian groups as to whether the civilian lives lost in these anti-IS airstrikes is worth it. Since they started, nearly 35,000 bombs have been dropped in Syria and Iraq causing incredible damages.
Join us in praying for the innocent people who remain in Syria. Pray for their safety and that they would come to know the grace and peace of Jesus Christ. Pray for the government and military officials who are fighting against ISIS. Pray that they will have great wisdom as they fight the evil that is stretching its way across the Middle East.
Do you want to know more about what the Bible says will happen in the Middle East? As Dr. Hindson says, “Bible Prophecy is not written to scare us, but to prepare us.” The more informed we are, the better we can pray for our world and share the truth of God’s Word. Check out our resource page for some incredible books on what the Bible says about the End Times.